Today’s Best NBA Reporting And Analysis 6/10/16

 The Simple Adjustment The Cavs Made To Revive Irving  (from Jesus Gomez,  SBNation):

Read and view it here:

–  LBJ Guarding Draymond Changed Everything  (from Mike Prada, SBNation):

Read and view it here:

–  Richard Jefferson Taking Full Advantage Of Opportunity   (from Sam Amick,  USA Today):

Read it here:

–  Kevin Love Can Still Be A Weapon…Off The Bench  (from Zach Lowe, ESPN):

Read and view it here:

–  Will Kerr Make Adjustments?  (from Monte Poole,

Read it here:    and from Dan Devine,  Yahoo Sports:–don-t-expect-warriors-to-go-small—–yet-021830234.html

 Steph, Klay Facing Different Struggles  (from Ben Golliver, Sports Illustrated):

Read and view it here:

–  A Unified Theory Of Steph’s Struggles  (from Adam Lauridsen,

Read it here:

–  Film Study:  Ball Pressure From Cavs  (from John Schuhmann,

Read and view it here:

–  Video Breakdown:  How Cavs Opened With a 19-4 Run In Game 3  (from Coach Nick,  BBall Breakdown):

Watch it here:

–  Film Study: How The Cavs Unleashed J.R.  (from Carter Rodriguez,  Fear The Sword):

Read and view it here:

–  Irving’s Game 3 Eruption  (from Bryan Toporek, BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here:

–  Game Three Takeaways  (from James Herbert,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:

–  The Finals’ Other Thompson  (from Michael Pina, Sports On Earth):

Read and view it here:

–  Phil Handy: Behind The Cavs’ Resurgence  (from Marc J. Spears, The Undefeated):

Read it here:

A Conversation With Author/Historian Roland Lazenby  (from Jabari Davis, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here:

–  Spurs’ Assistant James Borrego  (from Mark Smith,

Read it here:

Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:



James Jones (from Sean Deveney, Sporting News):

–  Brandon Ingram  (from David Thorpe, ESPN):

–  Demetrius Jackson  (from Brian Altman,


Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Quin Snyder: On Process, Patience And How An Elite Defense is Built  (from Ben Dowsett, Basketball Insiders):

“The biggest [challenge] offensively is spacing,” Snyder said. “When you’re the best player on the floor, sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are as much. People have to kind of react to you. And now you’re in a situation where there’s people with equal or more ability than you on the offensive end, and [you’re figuring] out how you need to space to help them, and also to help yourself to facilitate high percentage offense.”

Snyder had nowhere to go but up defensively. The Jazz were the league’s worst per-possession defense last season, with an ill-fitting scheme and a vast lack of the type of cohesiveness that defines the league’s stingier units. Quin set straight to work, identifying the largest issue immediately.

“I think pick-and-roll defense, for our group [was the biggest hurdle],” Snyder said. “Even the guys that have been here, the scheme is very different, so there’s a learning process that you go through when you’re implementing a defensive system too. And that’s such an important part of defense now in the NBA that it took some time – and not just on the ball.”

This last nugget is vital. The first step in fixing Utah’s sieve-like defense against the league’s most common and effective play type was pushing his young group to the realization that, despite there only being two players directly involved in the action, it takes all five on the court to properly defend it.”

Read and view it here:




–  Brad Stevens is the Celtics’ greatest asset  (from Jesus Gomez,  sbnation):

” Coaching is often underrated in the NBA. It’s not uncommon to see franchises go for recognizable names, who have neither a great past record on the sideline, nor fresh ideas to bring to a team. The carousel continues and the Byron Scotts and Mike Browns of the world keep getting opportunities that should be going to more innovative coaches, who can extract the best from the talent they have.

Quin Snyder in Utah and Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta are two examples of first time NBA coaches who led their teams to significant turnarounds. Yet, there’s no better way to illustrate how important finding the right leader can be to a franchise, than to watch what Brad Stevens is doing with the Celtics.”

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–   Why Brad Stevens Should Be Coach Of The Year  (from Stephen Varnum,

” (T)he job Stevens has done has been nothing short of a miracle with what he has had to work with.”

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–  Avery Bradley believes he should make NBA All-Defensive team  (from Jay King,

” Bradley was named to the All-Defensive second team as a second-year pro in 2013, but was only listed on four ballots last season, including one vote for the first team. He hasn’t heard his name mentioned much this season as a candidate, and the perceived lack of recognition is bothering him.

“I just know that (I’m the best on-ball defender),” Bradley said. “I know if players sat down and thought about it, they’re going to say me. For sure. Not to take anything away from anybody else.

“I don’t even know (if some votes are based on reputation) because I thought I had that reputation. But last year, I don’t think I got any votes (as mentioned earlier, he actually had four). It’s crazy.”

‘I don’t play for steals,’ Bradley said. “I play to stop people. That’s what wins games. It’s like they base it off of steals and stuff.”

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–  Jeff Hornacek Not To Blame For Suns’ Struggles  (from Gerald Bourguet,

” With the Suns having regressed from their 48-win campaign in 2013-14, Hornacek’s name has been mentioned as the scapegoat for this season’s failures.

Here’s why that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

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–  Fourth quarter problems soften as Orlando Magic continue to grow  (from Philip Rossman-Reich,  orlandomagicdaily):

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–  Who should Andrew Wiggins study?  (from David Thorpe, ESPN):

” For Wiggins to reach his potential as a devastating scorer, he simply has to add adept ballhandling to his repertoire. Right now Wiggins can push the ball in a straight line, but he doesn’t use his dribble to help him create attacking angles in half-court isolations, where the ball actually slows him down instead.

That’s not the case with Harden, who has a better handle than any player standing over 6-foot-4. He uses his ballhandling skill like a sledgehammer, constantly destroying defenders by making them think he is attacking one way before deftly beating them off the dribble another way.

Kevin Durant is another player who exploded as a scorer once he became a far better dribbler, but it’s Harden’s change of speed and ability to use the ball to trick defenders that Wiggins should be watching all summer.”

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–  The fall and rise of Delonte West  (from Rick Maese, Washington Post):

“West’s Legends team, eliminated from playoff contention, is playing one of its final games. Days later most players will leave Texas and go their separate ways. Not West. He will stay in the Dallas area, convinced more than ever that everything is about to turn.

The fall and rise of Delonte West looks like this: mistakes, guns, mood disorders, money woes; second, third and fourth chances, stints in China and Venezuela; unwavering confidence that despite a nearly three-year absence from the NBA, he’ll soon be back.

West knows he has to keep explaining. Initially, he had to understand for himself how he got here, how someone who played eight NBA seasons and earned more than $16 million and who played alongside LeBron James now sleeps on a fold-out bed in the two-bedroom home of a family member. “It took me a long time to forgive myself,” he said.

But West also knows that even though he’s finally comfortable with who he is, the real key to returning to the NBA is convincing everyone else to be comfortable with who he is, too.”

Read it here:



And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  Injuries place Rockets, Hawks in peril  (from Amin Elhassan):

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Andrew Bogut:


Joe Ingles:


Mike Conley:


Ryan Kelly:


Dion Waiters:


Jrue Holiday:


Derrick Rose:


Ish Smith/Thomas Robinson/Isaiah Canaan:


Andrew Wiggins/Zach LaVine:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

With Derrick Rose Back, Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau Now Faces Colossal Task (from Sean Highkin, Bleacher Report):

”  Tom Thibodeau is in a time crunch the rest of the way to make a collection of pieces fit together that he hasn’t had all in one place for much of the year. The most important of those pieces is a player feeling his way back from a third knee surgery in as many years, who now has one week to put together something resembling the continuity and confidence that comes with having games under his belt.

It’s no easy task—not for Rose, not for Thibodeau, not for any of the Bulls’ players who have grown used to the shuffling of healthy players over the course of the season. But if the title hopes the organization and locker room still hold onto from training camp are going to become reality, they’ll have to find a way to make that happen.

Even with Rose back, Thibodeau still has some figuring out of his rotations to do. Wednesday’s game was just the fourth time this season where the Bulls had their entire roster available, and the 20th with their normal starting lineup.

Re-acclimating a player as important as Rose with this little time left is a tough coaching feat under the best of circumstances. Further handcuff him with a minutes limit and the juggling act becomes all the more dangerous.”

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–  New X-Factors Emerging for San Antonio Spurs’ 2014-15 NBA Playoffs Run  (from David Kenyon,  Bleacher Report):

” (O)nce the postseason begins, the Spurs will be able to showcase a few players who occupy non-glamorous, advantageous roles on a potential title-winning squad.”

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–  Trust is growing within Orlando Magic (from Philip Rossman-Reich,

“The joy for me comes out of watching our players,” coach James Borrego said. “Their excitement, their joy. They’re the group on the floor. The credit goes to those 15 men in the locker room that have stuck together, that pull for each other, that compete with each other. They’ve never backed down from that. And I’m proud of the way they have stuck with that. They made growth on the floor, but as a group they have come together and the credit belongs tot he 15 men in that locker room.”

The last two games have shown how deep that trust can go.”

Read it here:





–  Jason Kidd Leads Bucks’ NBA Learning Experience This Season (from Fred Katz,  Bleacher Report):

” The Bucks have some of the most detailed whiteboards in the league, a direct reflection of their coach, Jason Kidd, who is in the midst of his first year coaching them. Preparedness is becoming their identity.

“They’re detailed about everything,” breakout star Khris Middleton mused about his new coaching staff, especially Sean Sweeney, the apparent calligrapher responsible for the Bucks’ stifling defense and whiteboard doodling. “I mean, it really helps us out. All the tendencies, what we need to do. It helps.””

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–  If the Thunder miss the playoffs, blame their horrific defense  (from Satchel Price,

” Everyone knew the injuries to Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka would hurt Oklahoma City, particularly once it became clear in March that neither would return. What people didn’t expect was a complete collapse on the defensive end of the floor, where the Thunder have been solid for many years.”

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– Screening Isn’t Really Houston’s Thing  (from Jordan M. Foley, Vantage Sports):

” The simplicity of Houston’s read-and-react offense is a widely known fact, yet the Rockets are able to score very efficiently. It is easy to assume that a free-flowing, play-less offensive system would rely on screening actions to generate spacing and facilitate the offense. After all, when you think of other highly efficient scoring teams, you typically think of teams like the Spurs, Warriors, or Hawks. Each of those teams have offenses that feature an incredible amount of movement and screening, but that is something that you do not see in Houston.”

Read and view it here:




On the Road with the 76ers  (from Michael Sokolove, NYTimes):

” A Philadelphian, by birth and temperament, I followed the Sixers off and on for months this season, trying to understand how the team’s quixotic plan was progressing. Oddly, the basketball team the Sixers put on the court was not uninteresting. On their better nights, they were not unwatchable. At all times, they were illuminating. I felt as if I were looking in on a strange social-science experiment: Throw together a group of marginal, overmatched professional athletes and give them a shot at their lifelong dream. The results were both inspiring and heartbreaking”

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, profiles:


Jameer Nelson: Nelson:  meer-nelson-has-thrived-in-melvin-hunts-offense/


Tyler Hansbrough:


Lou Williams:


Kawhi Leonard:


Rajon Rondo:


Isaiah Thomas:


Derrick Favors:


Nicolas Batum:


Tristan Thompson:


Shabazz Muhammad:


– Steph Curry/ Klay Thompson:


Jonas Valanciunas:


Gordon Hayward:


Ricky Ledo:


Joakim Noah:

Today’s Best NBA Reporting and Analysis

 Suns Are Getting Defensive  (from spencerhann,

” Winners of three straight games and seven of their last 10, the Suns have relied on their new defensive identity (no, that’s not a typo) to propel them back into the Western Conference playoff race.

“It’s been a lot of fun, we have been on a string defensively. We all can score but defensively we have been together,” Marcus Morris said. “We are all putting in [work]”.

Since the All-Star break Phoenix has posted the sixth best defense in the ENTIRE NBA (once again, not a typo). Over their last 15 games, they have the third best defensive efficiency rating in the league (okay, I really did think that was a typo but I TRIPLE checked it!).”

Read it here:




–  In copycat NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies are nothing alike  (from Chris Fedor,

” (E)ach NBA team has its own philosophy. On Wednesday night, the Cavaliers will take the court against the Memphis Grizzlies, a Western Conference bully.

No sizzle. No hype. They have their own motto: Grit and Grind.

“They don’t change,” James said of the Grizzlies. “They are who they are and they don’t change for no one. In a league that plays a lot of small basketball they don’t change.”

Memphis doesn’t have an MVP candidate like James and it doesn’t create highlight-reel plays that send the crowd into frenzy. It’s about tough, hard-nosed basketball. It’s about making the opponent uncomfortable with a suffocating defense and a physical frontcourt. The style has led to a third straight 50-win season.

“You have to try to beat them at their game,” James said. “Understand they’re going to ground-and-pound you for most of the game and you have to try to stop their pick-and-roll with (Mike) Conley, who is really good. Always a challenge going against them.”

Read it here:




Larry Bird Q & A (from Mike Mazzeo, ESPN):

Read it here:




Reviewing the Spurs: Games 61-70  (from Paul Garcia,

” After Volume 6 of the season long ‘Building the Machine’ series, the San Antonio Spurs sat at 37-23 through 60 games of the season. In their last 10 games, the Spurs have begun to get back on the winning track, as they went 7-3, where two of those three losses needed overtime for the team to fall.

To recap, the Spurs’ seven wins in the last 10 games came against both some underachieving teams, but also some notable playoff teams. The Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets, Chicago Bulls (PP = Playoff Potential), Toronto Raptors (PP), Minnesota Timberwolves, Milwaukee Bucks (PP), Boston Celtics (PP), and East-leading Atlanta Hawks (PP). Two of the Spurs’ three losses came in overtime against the Cleveland Cavaliers (PP), New York Knicks, and the lone regulation loss, came via the Dallas Mavericks (PP).

As the Spurs are currently in the process of building the machine through their system on both ends of the floor, it’s time to take a look at how the team is doing through 70 games of the season, with just 12 games remaining.”

Read it here:




Magic’s  Borrego Credits Budenholzer For Growth as Coach  (from John Denton,

”  When James Borrego sat down on Monday to start preparing for the Atlanta Hawks, the Orlando Magic’s interim head coach might as well have been scouting with the enemy.

Much of what Borrego learned about studying foes came from Mike Budenholzer, coach and architect of the Hawks’ surprising run to the top of the Eastern Conference. And a lot of the success that Borrego has had thus far in helping motivate the Magic and salvage the season should be credited to the help that he’s gotten through the years from “Coach Bud,’’ Borrego said.

“I still think about `Bud’ almost every (scouting report) that I do because of the principles he taught me and what to look for,’’ Borrego said on Tuesday before his Magic (22-50) started practice prep for the Hawks (53-17). “I credit (Budenholzer) for a lot of my growth as a coach. He’s a special man and a special coach and friend. He’s someone I’ll always rely on whether it’s on the court or off the court stuff. I still tell him all the time that I still learn from him. I watch his teams because they play the right way. It’s no coincidence that they’re top in the East because he’s got his handprint all over that team.’’

Both Borrego and Budenholzer got their starts in the NBA in the San Antonio film room as video grunts tasked with the mundane job of pouring through hours of game footage to find teaching points and advantages for the Spurs. That work allowed both to ultimately become assistant coaches and later head coaches at the NBA level.”

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–  The NBA’s best transition offenses  (from Zach Harper,  CBS Sports):

Read it here:




Even With Dwight Howard’s Return, Rockets Still Have Questions (from Ethan Rothstein,

Read it here:




Monta Ellis bounces back and everything else that happened Tuesday night (from Yaron Weitzman,

Read it here:




–  Is Monta’s slump over?  (from Tim McMahon, ESPN):

Read it here:




And for those with access to ESPN Insider:


–  NBA personnel rank top 30 point guards  (from Jeff Goodman):

” NBA executives, coaches and players weigh in on the great PG debate”

Read it here:




Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Thaddeus Young:


Dion Waiters:


Reggie Jackson:


Gerald Wallace:


Alonzo Gee:


Zach LaVine:


Derrick Williams:


ZaZa Pachulia:


Patty Mills:


Henry Sims:


Langston Galloway:


Danilo Gallinari:


Will Barton:


Spencer Dinwiddie:


Enes Kanter:

Today’s Top NBA Reporting and Analysis

–  Scott Brooks improvises and hits on a winning lineup late against the Bulls  (from Barry Tramel,

” Foreman Scotty resorted to a small lineup, which usually means good offense and shaky defense, but this time it was the defensive ticket to victory.”

Read it here:



Defending LeBron  (from Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel):

““He’s hurt us when we’ve doubled him,” Borrego said. “He’s hurt us when we’ve guarded him straight up. That’s why he’s the MVP. That’s why he’s an NBA champion and one of the best of all time. He’s a great passer. He finds the open man. And when he does find that open man, that ball’s on a rope. So there’s no room for error.”

“You can’t give him one look,” Borrego said. “What I can say is that there has to be bodies around him. You can’t give him open space to play in. He’ll pick you apart. The problem is when you do that, there’s other players around him that he finds, and those guys are playing very well.”

Read it here:




Lakers’ Byron Scott rips team’s ball movement, screen setting in 91-86 loss to Atlanta (from Mark Medina,

“We have to do a better job of setting screens for each other,” Scott said. “That’s just being unselfish. That’s the bottom line. You have to be committed to doing that on a night to night basis.”

How can the Lakers not grasp something that the most elementary of teams understand?

“I don’t know. You have to ask them. Maybe they’re scared of contact,” Scott said.”

Read it here:




For Kevin Garnett, Basketball Greatness Begins in the Locker Room  (from Josh Martin, Bleacher Report):

“There’s no question that for young players or anybody, even veterans, coming in to see his preparation, his passion, his energy,” Saunders said. “You think, here’s a guy with 20 years in the league, he’s 37. How he could bring that same energy every night and that same focus is pretty phenomenal.”

It can be all too easy to lose that focus on a team that, at a Western Conference-worst 14-51, might otherwise be playing out the string and planning its summer vacations. Garnett, though, has infused Minnesota’s locker room with his own brand of purpose and passion, according to teammates.

“It’s a way more positive atmosphere and everything,” Pekovic told Bleacher Report. “He’s a guy who really supports everybody, especially the young guys, explaining to them how they should do whatever they should do.”

Read it here:



Two views on Jeff Green’s role with the Grizzlies:


Is It Time for the Memphis Grizzlies to Bring Jeff Green off the Bench? (from Tom Firme, Bleacher Report):

” The Memphis Grizzlies are feeling a drag with Jeff Green failing to meet expectations that he’d be the complementary scorer who completes them as a contender. His shortcomings on both ends of the floor raise the question of his usefulness in the starting lineup.”

Read it here:


Jeff Green Bolsters Grizzlies’ Transition Attack (from Andrew Ford,

” The Grizzlies don’t get out in transition much, but they are great at it when they do. Let’s take a look at why they are so successful when they run the floor and how midseason acquisition Jeff Green makes them even more dangerous on the break.”

Read and view it here:



What is the right team building model?  (from Sam Smith,

” So how would Dwight Howard look with Carmelo Anthony next season? How about DeMarcus Cousins? Could the Knicks be back?

Don’t dismiss it all so quickly given Phil Jackson’s comments last week with the Knicks in Los Angeles. Jackson said, “We know what the first round pick is going to mean for us, but we also know we’re going to build our team with free agents; 190 players or so are going to be free agents. Like a third of the [league]. So that’s where our priority stands.”

The draft sounds exciting and fans love the promise, but even maybe the best player of the next decade, Anthony Davis, in his third season still probably won’t be in a playoff game. Jackson also added you don’t turn teams around in the draft these days unless you get LeBron James. I checked. He’s not in this draft. And you are not waiting three years when you just paid 30-year-old Carmelo Anthony. That’s the big ‘melo in the room for the Knicks. You are not about to go on a three-to-five years building plan (check the Jazz, that’s at least how long it takes) with that sort of investment in Anthony.”

Read it here:



Teammate: Paul George ‘not even close to 100 percent’ (from Candace Buckner,

” As the Indiana Pacers ascend as the hottest team in the NBA, fans should expect Paul George to remain seated.

OK, so the familiar face of the franchise donning a new number may still indeed make his long-awaited comeback before the end of the 2014-15 season. He may play restricted minutes off the Pacers’ deep bench, already the top-scoring unit in the NBA, and even regain confidence in his rehabilitated right leg before starting fresh next year.

But the player who flashes fast-twitch muscles to jump passing lanes, locks down the rival’s best wing scorer and carries the burden of the Pacers’ offense while balancing the weight of his growing brand on his 24-year-old shoulders — don’t look for that Paul George this season.”

Read it here:



Gobert’s Case for DPOY  (from Bryan Toporek,  Vantage Sports):

Read and view it here:




A look at the Sixers going forward (from Bob Cooney,

Read it here:




23 Camp Cuts Are Currently On NBA Rosters (from Chuck Myron,

Read it here:



Glen Grunwald Pens New Chapter (from Angus Crawford,

” Former NBA executive Glen Grunwald is adding to his decorated portfolio of professional pit stops by embracing the realm of collegiate athletics in his adopted home.”

Read it here:



Additional Player Notes, Updates, Profiles:


Anthony Morrow


Enes Kanter/Steven Adams


Alex Len:


Ish Smith


Meyers Leonard

(BI Note: Leonard has a good shot at having a 50-40-90 year but won’t have the requisite number of makes to “qualify” for recognition of the feat:


DeJuan Blair


Rasual Butler:


Anthony Davis:


Archie Goodwin


Phil Pressey


Avery Bradley


Shaun Livingston


Gordon Hayward


Kyrie Irving


Markel Brown


Tyler Zeller/Kelly Olynyk:


Jeremy Lin


Jabari Brown


Robert Covington:


LaMarcus Aldridge